Hello, friends! 2023 hasn’t been off to a good start for me, but queer books are always a balm. Snuggle up with your furry reading partner a little extra for me this week.
Don’t forget to check out Read Harder 2023! I’m going to be giving some queer recommendations for each task, but sign up for the newsletter at the link to get even more recs in your inbox.
This week, I wanted to highlight the charity Rainbow Railroad, which helps LGBTQI+ people escape state-sanctioned violence and oppression around the world. You can find out more about about them on their website, and you can help them continue this work on their donation page.
The Daughters of Izdihar by Hadeer Elsbai (Sapphic Fantasy)
Nehal just wants an education to hone her waterweaving and put her power to use on the battlefield. Instead, she’s married off to a wealthy man, Nico, who is in love with a bookseller named Giorgina. Giorgina is a waterweaver involved with the radical women’s activist group Daughters of Izdihar, and soon she and Nehal find they have a lot in common. This is the first in a duology with bisexual and lesbian representation.
A Tale of Two Princes by Eric Geron (Gay YA Romance)
Edward is prince of Canada (roll with it) and unsure how to come out of the closet with the spotlight on him. Things just get more complicated when he finds out he was separated at birth from his twin, Billy, who’s now an out-and-proud regular teenager in Montana. This is supposed to be The Princess Diaries meets Parent Trap!
Red Clay Suzie by Jeffrey Dale Lofton (Gay Fiction)
Love and Lattes by Karis Walsh (F/F Romance) (this is set at a cat café!!)
Brighter Than the Moon by David Valdes (Queer Guy YA Contemporary)
For more new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!
Challenge #2 of Read Harder 2023 is “Read one of your favorite author’s favorite books.” You can use a few different options to get this information, including just googling authors’ favorite books — if they’ve been interviewed a lot, or they have their own blog, it’s a good bet you’ll bring them up. If not, you can look at the books they’ve blurbed! That’s what I did with these picks. If you can’t find any info, you can also try asking on social media, but first check that they haven’t already answered so we don’t flood people’s mentions!
For this Riot Recs, I picked a couple of queer books recommended by some of my favorite queer authors.
The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Daniel M. Lavery, recommended by Carmen Maria Machado
I absolutely loved Her Body and Other Parties as well as In the Dream House, so I definitely want to check out these short stories — including queer stories — that Machado blurbed: “Dear Reader: It would, truthfully, be simplest to call the stories in The Merry Spinster ‘retellings,’ but that word does not adequately capture their dark alchemy. Daniel M. Lavery has created a Frankenstein’s monster of familiar narratives . . . [that swings] between Terry Pratchett’s satirical jocularity and Angela Carter’s sinister, shrewd storytelling, and the result is gorgeous, unsettling, splenic, cruel, and wickedly smart. I’ve never read anything quite like them, and I bet, Dear Reader, that you haven’t either.”
Good Luck Girls by by Charlotte Nicole Davis, recommended by Mark Oshiro
I love Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro, and this sapphic dystopia is one they recommend: “The Good Luck Girls plays in familiarity, but never feels familiar. I loved how frequently I was shocked, surprised, and delighted by this book, its incredible (and mega queer!) cast of characters, and the effortless way Davis unfolds a sprawling and at times frightening story. An ambitious, thoughtful debut that’ll leave you wanting more.”
All the Links Fit to Click
I put my lesbian pulp fiction collection on display in my office a few weeks ago. I especially like the The Sex Between / The Path Between / The Twisted Path section.